November 29, 2009
During this week I have been a couple of times to Cockermouth to give some simple help. Its been really only the last couple of days that people have been able to start removing all the wet and damaged items. In the worst hit streets I guess the water was between 6-7 feet high in the houses.
Its feels so good to help with simple acts of kindness and just chat and encourage people and offer a bed at ours if they need to escape for 12 hours from the situation. Prince Charles flew in a 2nd time. Locals really appreciate this. One human fear for those down on their luck is “am I still remembered?”
Walls knocked down by the river.
Kathy and I had so much fun with the dear people in Waterloo St. That was our patch with a simple shopping trolley armed with flasks of hot water, tea, coffee, sandwiches, cake and hot backed potatoes.
Stopping for a cuppa
Most people had friends helping to remove all the possession into skips the council had provided. In some cases, older people had to let the insurance company deal with it. One dear lady said how sad it was that it took an event like this to bring the community together. Another said how wonderful it was to hear so much laughing. It was all my bad jokes!
The word spread quickly that my cuppa was the best in town, even the Mayor came!
One danger for us as a family is to be so introspective and past orientated whilst missing opportunities today and live for tomorrow. Simply helping like this lifts our spirits and we put an arm around a strangers shoulders and say “your hurt, I’m hurt, lets hobble this journey together”
November 27, 2009
“Oh my gosh”, our mouths were open wide yesterday as we literally watched hit after hit on the Michael Knight Trust site and emails started to arrive. By the end of the day we had over 1000 hits to the site, amazing! Thank you all so much for your support. This has been such a great encouragement to us as a family.
As I sat in bed last night it was with a mixture of thanks and sadness. Whilst the girls were texting, phoning and emailing me throughout the day, with all the excitement and requests to do this or do that to the site or photo, I had flashes of thoughts as to how surreal this all is and how lonely I am for Mike. Talking about him, looking at photos etc all day took its toll by the end of play.
November 26, 2009
A number of friends encouraged us to set up a Trust in memory of Mike. I am pleased to say that as of today it is now launched. michaelknighttrust.com is the site you can visit and find out how to get involved.
We have started the Trust using the monies Mike both saved and raised in support for his course at NEXUS.
The Trust will be managed by Akila and Laura. Its an awesome opportunity for them to build on the legacy Mike has left.
Would you consider getting involved? Have a look at the site.
November 24, 2009
The knowledge that grief has been studied and models developed has been a great source of help to me.
The 5 stages of grief model is a page I refer to often. More recently I can relate to step 4, numb. I am not sure if they are stages or phases. Anyway, good to know I am not going out of my mind! I find I am soooo numb to much of current life. Its like I am in a bubble.
Kathy and I are so thankful we made the early decision that we would not make any major decisions for 6 months. This has kept us on an even keel emotionally as several events around us could have had us heading off in different directions.
Park behind our house in the flood
November 23, 2009
Psm 41 v 1 Dignify those who are down on their luck; your feel good, thats what God does.
5 years ago, we saw first hand the depressing aftermath of the floods here in Carlisle. 1 in 4 had no insurance. I sat in the comfort of my home yesterday morning, enjoying the warmth and peace. I said to Kathy, “I cannot sit here and just go off to church and 25 miles away, people are going through the turmoil of devastation of loosing their homes, businesses and community.
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We got in the car and drove on out there. Several times the police diverted us as bridges had been swept away. What can we do, how can we help, we thought? One of the many comforts to us during the last 3 months has been those who have naturally practiced Rom 12 v 15 “Weep with those who weep”. We went there to just “Look and Listen” to both God and Man. I thought one practical way would be for us to see who needed help to remove all the damaged articles in their house, clear all the mud etc and gather a team from work and church and go down during the week.
The main part of town was closed. Many properties have structural damage. You could see the town was having a break for a few hours between the hitting of the storm and the analysis of damage. We saw volunteers in bright luminous jackets that said “Churches together in Cockermouth”, diverting traffic. They pointed us to a church hall 1 street up from the closed off town. As we walked in to volunteer in what ever way they needed, we were amazed to be welcomed by Rev Wendy Saunders, our friend from the Anglican Church here in Carlisle. She is the pastor there now. They were offering food and hot drinks to all. Loading up shopping trolleys with tea and coffee and going out to all the emergency service personnel. We watched with humble hearts as we saw Wendy and her team be the Hands and Feet of Jesus. We stayed and talked with families and individuals.
We remembered being in Russia when only weeks before the Berlin Wall came down and seeing Hare Christa people on the streets. Here in Cockermouth it was volunteers from Edinburgh from the Scientology Church. Wow how wonderful they had driven over 100 miles to help.
As Kathy and I later took a walk around the edge of the town on the hill and prayed, looked and listened. We realised again several points;
- God’s people working together can have an awesome impact in acts of kindness and showing grace by meeting peoples basic needs.
- It is not always most effective for outsiders to come in and give direct help. It may be better to support those who are already helping. This gives natural opportunity for the leadership of the local community to build relationships.
- In a Kingdom of Heaven reality we see good and bad happening. Darkness has a very subtle way of disguising its self as light and getting foot holds into situations. As Christians we need to “look with spiritual eyes” and see what is happening.
- We left Cockermouth with a heart to pray and realised that may be our part.
November 22, 2009
What does a dad buy for valentines day for his 20 year old daughter? Well I brought her last year a domain name. www.akilaknight.com That should take you to her http://akilaknight.wordpress.com/ blog. Please do have a look for today. She writes honestly and hits a very good topic, Forgiving God! Wow I am so proud of her. Many in the evangelical world would have a problem with that topic.
November 22, 2009
As I read Akila’s blog and talk to Kathy and Akila, I can see the torment of wanting to move on and yet issues that are in your face, dont allow you to move on.
Twice last week I opened the post, only to have Mike’s death in my face again. The first was four similar letters from the Cardiologist in Newcastle. She had copied us in on letters to our GP explaining our results from tests in relation to ascertaining whether there is a genetic medical condition in the family. The second was a letter on Friday from the Coroners office not just informing us about the coming inquest but that we will be asked to be witnesses. Of course we knew of the inquest and the conclusions from the Coroner and what he had written on the Death Certificate.
This has been a very somber week. The news that STL-IBS is up for sale due to financial difficulties, (I have had close links with them for 30 years), the realisation that Doulos can no longer sail beyond year end, and the severe floods again in Cumbria. In all three of these locations, there are people who have or are in the process of loss. Its not the organisational issues that strike me but the human side of the stories. I’m reading Michael Card’s “The Hidden Face of God” and this morning I am moved by the verse “Weep with those who weep”. In my condition right now I can not offer the help I would have previously. I sit in my chair and put myself in their shoes and simply pray. I am thinking to go out to Cockermouth today and simply walk and pray and see if the LORD leads to help in some small way. I know many do not have insurance. May be just like we do on the ship, I can go with a brush, shovel etc and help clean up someones house or may be just cry even with someone.
So its another opportunity to use the energy from “in your face” to bring someone elses pain “into my face” and in a very small way, walk a step in their journey.